A new memoir about former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford' s life has quite literally rewritten Canadian history, with its publication prompting the Encyclopedia of Canada to revise its entry on the patriation of the Canadian Constitution.
The new entry now gives Peckford, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador, more credit in helping to resolve the patriation negotiations of November 1981, where Peckford was a chief representative at those meetings.
The following year, in 1982, Canada added provisions to the Constitution Act of 1867, which included the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in addition to the procedure for amending the Constitution of Canada.
Now, the memoir, "Some Day the Sun Will Shine and Have Not Will Be No More," contends it was a proposal by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador that aided in an agreement being reached between all parties at the talks, except Quebec,
History professor and author Stephen Azzi, who teaches at Carleton university, wrote the revised entry.
In an another article published by the encyclopedia, Azzi outlines why the changes were made.
“Brian Peckford deserves considerable credit for our constitution, alongside Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chrétien, Roy Romanow, and Roy McMurtry. Important too were Saskatchewan’s Howard Leeson, Alberta’s Peter Meekison, and countless other unelected officials who shunned the spotlight and have been largely ignored in the history books,” writes Azzi.
“Peckford’s account brings long-needed balance to the story. The patriation process was a complex series of manoeuvres, in which several individuals played pivotal roles. To credit only Trudeau, Chrétien, Romanow, and McMurtry is to miss a large part of what actually happened.”
During the deadlocked negotiations in 1981, the federal and provincial governments eventually reached a consensus and began working out its details in a kitchen, which became known in history as the "Kitchen Accord."
In Peckford's memoir, released on Wednesday, the former premier does not take away from the significance of that deal, he upholds, but rather, he wanted credit given to him where it was due.